Skip to main content

Casey Neistat’s Absolute Disregard For Failure — And the Imperative to Define Your Own Path

By April 27, 2015January 18th, 20245 Comments

“It’s always the struggles that define you in life. Look back at your life whether you’re 13 years old or 80 years old and it’s always the hardest times that made you who you are.”

Casey Neistat

This week marks the return of my friend Casey Neistat to the podcast.

Where to even begin…

As a filmmaker credentialed with co-creating an HBO series and laurels from prestigious outlets like Cannes, Sundance and the Independent Spirit Awards, one would expect an artist of his pedigree to be directing feature films, documentaries and television shows for mainstream media. And yet sometime around 2010, Casey opted for the road less travelled, putting the traditional filmmaker path in his rearview to blaze a different and quite surprising path more in alignment with his DIY sensibilities:


The great irony is that in embracing the most democratic of platforms as his primary artistic outlet, Casey has indeed become one of the most compelling and culturally relevant voices of his generation.

From his sensational  “Make It Count”  (my fave) to his poignant  “What Would You Do with $25,000?”  to his gleeful  “Snowboard NYC”,  Casey has logged over 129 million YouTube views, compelling Wired Magazine to remark,  “Casey Neistat’s bite-size Internet movies have so much viral potential they make influenza jealous.”  Let’s not even get into his continent-sized following on Snapchat (check out his ancillary  Snap Stories YouTube Channel ), or the fact that he recently began posting a daily vlog so stellar, suddenly every other vlogger looks remedial. 

Putting out a volume of content that would rival a major network, Casey Neistat is truly a do-it-yourself triumph — famed and fêted for unceasingly documenting his life, globe-trotting adventures and myriad curiosities with boundless perspicacity and bootstrapping panache.

So what is it exactly that makes Casey’s work so irresistible? Maybe it’s simply because he knows how to tell insanely great personal stories. Perhaps it’s his rapier-like knack for tapping the zeitgeist pulse. His fidelity to authenticity. Or his expertise when it comes to connecting emotionally with a signature style that always leaves you yearning for more.

If you ask me what sets Casey apart, it’s something else entirely:

an absolute disregard for failure.

That, and a profound work ethic. He makes it look easy, but make no mistake: Casey Neistat works way harder than you do.

No, you can’t have his life. But you can have your own. To echo Casey, if you are doing it like everyone else, you’re doing it wrong. So stop following the heard.

Define your own path.

It was a treat to once again drop in on his singular Lower Manhattan studio —  “one of the most compulsively organized, ridiculously customized, and mind-bogglingly gear-saturated spaces on Planet Awesome”  — and I am pumped to share this conversation with one of the most interesting, creative, prolific — and in my opinion important — visual artists working today.

NOTE: this is a short one. Just as I was starting to hit my conversational stride, at 45 minutes in Casey had to pull the plug. As you will hear, it makes for a rather abrupt, albeit somewhat comedic end to the podcast. I’m back in NYC for 10 days in June, so I will do my best to pick things up where we left off. Nonetheless, plenty of gems to mine. And yes of course, he made a little Snapchat story about the whole affair:

If you didn’t tune in for our first conversation, you really should — it’s great.

I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange.

Peace + Plants,


Listen & Subscribe on  iTunes  |  Soundcloud  |  Stitcher  |  TuneIn

Production, music & sound design by Tyler Piatt. Additional production by Chris Swan. Graphic art by Shawn Patterson. Thanks boys!


Connect With Casey: Facebook | YouTube | Twitter | Instagram  |  Website

*Disclosure: Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.



Are you a company interested in sponsoring the podcast?  Click here  to learn more & take our sponsor survey.


Tell Your Friends & Share Online!

Subscribe & Review:  iTunesStitcherSoundcloud  and  TuneIn.

Donate: Check out the   DONATE  button on the podcast homepage or click  HERE  to learn more.  We even accept Bitcoin!


  • Tommy F says:

    I really like Casey’s insight concerning inspiration. We all rely on inspiration in life to guide us. It’s important. And it’s an unfortunate reality, that the guidance we rely on has been hijacked by companies who don’t really intend to inspire us, but instead “entice” us to purchase their products. And these products are truly empty of any real value. Images are created of happy people, experiencing joy with their products.. and this triggers our inspiration mechanism. But as we learned from Mad Men, the people creating this mindless marketing are not really happy themselves. There’s an underlying emptiness that it’s all tapped into. Give up live TV, ignore internet ads, shun billboards and leave the magazines on the rack they sit on. Enter mindfulness into your life and find raw inspiration along that thread. 🙂


  • JenCharp says:

    Very intrigued and genuinely entertained by this interview with Casey. I especially loved the way it ended! No better way to wrap it up really, because Casey doesn’t seem to be a person who “winds down” gently in a conversation. Have to confess, I went home last night, fired up YouTube on the TV and binge-watched Casey’s videos with my teenagers. I agree with his assessment on overuse of the word “inspiration”. Because I’m a word person I have to find some descriptor and I believe “encouragement” is a better fit for me. I get the idea that “inspiration” itself doesn’t bring about change or growth. I can be inspired all day long, sitting on my ass, watching videos, looking at memes or reading a book . Movement forward is the spark that lights the flame, that sets fire to and births inspiring actions. I respond to things, people, places and ideas that encourage me or give me permission by their example, to move towards the..whatever – the new experience, the new idea, the next adventure, the next level. I also truly appreciate the wisdom in his explanation of why taking it easy is damaging and we always need to be moving toward the next experience in life. After watching the videos and listening to my kids’ enthusiasm it opened a door for me to talk to them about the idea of making time for adventure and experiences when they are young, before they become tied to responsibilities. It also gave me an opening and context to illustrate the truth that success and creativity comes at the cost of hard work and willingness to push through failure…to always keep moving towards. Good stuff. Still smiling. Keep it up!

  • sasha says:

    hey…I disagree with the two comments here….I found it too similar to the first pod cast, after the first I watched a video or two but could not really get much from them..I hear why hard work is so important and I like the ‘experiences’ focus..but it seems like Casey is so scared about not achieving that he may miss out in the moment, his values were clearly defined in his lean years, but if we are all not careful -the things we constructed to protect and serve us become our default mechanism and have little use in out adult life, I doubt most of us on our death beds would think ‘ I wish I would have worked more’..I think flexibility is an important skill for adults! however Rich do NOT ever stop and as a non apple user I cannot rate your pod on itunes, if I could I would

  • sasha says:

    like this post..but does Casey himself not attempt to do this..outside of an agency..but brands it as different..somehow better..I read between the lines this is what you are saying?

  • Tommy F says:

    Yep.. Unfortunately the lure of the All-Mighty Dollar of our physical universe, is too strong of a temptation for even the most mindful to overcome. This is why Christ said, “It’s easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Leave a Reply